Food safety and quality experts, as well as food production experts, often use metal detection as a method for identifying foreign bodies and contaminants in food. Most of the time, these professionals consider three essential factors - capability or total application of the equipment, optimum detection point and total cost or benefit.
Food detection technologies continue to evolve and improve. Each time new processes and detection methods become available in the market, new standards and guidelines are set in place. The dynamic changes in food safety lead to confusion especially in the type and brand of metal detection equipment to use.
Just like radio waves, metal detection involves the use of electrical impulses. Detecting foreign bodies in food is determined by altered transmission and reception signals in electrical impulses. The difference in the expected signal and the received signal signifies the presence of foreign material in food. Metal detection used in the food industry is more complicated than those used in the security industry. In food safety and quality control, subject materials pass through the system faster. This can result in a lesser detection rate. Additionally, the type and size of the foreign material embedded in the product can have significant effects on the detection rate. False detections are common in metal detection and these can be highly frustrating and costly at the same time.
Metal detectors well suited in the food industry must possess certain qualities such as high sensitivity, full automation, ease of use, reliability, and robustness as well as cost effectiveness. Millions of subjects must pass through the system so it is important that a metal detection machine gives out a reliable outcome.